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We are constantly learning new things about the Coronavirus, masks, and how to live with the Coronavirus for the time being. One of the more recent things we have now learned is about what masks are the best at preventing the spread of droplets, and this study revealed something surprising to me: neck gaiters are worse than wearing no mask at all.

I'll admit, at the beginning of the pandemic I wore a neck gaiter because we had them laying around the house and hadn't purchased a mask yet. Now I feel bad!

But how is that possible? How is something that's covering your nose and mouth worse than not covering up at all?

The study, which was done at Drake University, recorded people on camera wearing different types of masks, speaking the same phrase with these masks on, and then they used a computer algorithm to determine the number of droplets dispersed.

Through this study, they realized that neck gaiters (or neck fleece as they call them in the study) actually break up the large droplets, making many small droplets that then escape from the mask and spread. The issue with this is "smaller particles are airborne longer than large droplets" making the neck gaiter possibly counterproductive. They also say bandanas aren't much better.

So what mask should we wear?.

For us, the best options according to this study are three-layer surgical masks, a three-layer Poly/Cotton mask (cotton, polypropylene, cotton), a two-layer polypropylene apron mask, and a two-layer cotton pleated style mask. You can do a quick Google search on all of these and find the option that works best for you!

A properly fitted N95 mask came in first as being the most effective but unless you work in the medical industry, your N95 most likely is not properly fitted. Plus, people in the medical field on the front lines need them more than we do.

READ MORE: Coronavirus Risk Level by Activity

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